Canberra followers of Fethullah Gulen afraid to return to Turkey

Fethullah Erdogan, left, is the director of Canberra's Bluestar Intercultural Centre, a Muslim outreach organisation established here in 2009. He and his colleague, Muhammed Aksu, right, work to encourage interaction between the Muslim and wider community.  Photo: David Ellery
Fethullah Erdogan, left, is the director of Canberra's Bluestar Intercultural Centre, a Muslim outreach organisation established here in 2009. He and his colleague, Muhammed Aksu, right, work to encourage interaction between the Muslim and wider community. Photo: David Ellery


Date posted: September 4, 2016

David Ellery

Canberra’s Fethullah Erdogan considers himself an unlikely terrorist.

The father of two, who moved to the ACT in 2009 with his wife, Handan, and their sons, to head the Bluestar Intercultural Centre, is committed to peace, building bridges between the Muslim community and other religions and cultures and is an outspoken critic of groups such as Isis and al-Qaeda.

“No [true] Muslim can be a terrorist and no terrorist can be a Muslim,” he has told Fairfax in previous interviews.

Over the past six years the Erdogan family’s south Canberra home has been visited by many prominent politicians and high-ranking ACT religious leaders.

But, as a committed follower of Fethullah Gulen, the 75-year-old founder of the Hizmet [service] movement, Mr Erdogan has been branded a terrorist by the Turkish government in the wake of the failed coup attempt on July 15.

Despite having recently become an Australian citizen, Mr Erdogan fears if he returned to Turkey at the moment he would be arrested as soon as he stepped off the plane.

He has friends in Turkey who have been stripped of their livelihoods and forced to go into hiding as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cracks down on “enemies of the state”.

In the wake of the coup attempt Australia’s Turkish embassy and consulates issued statements labelling Gulen and his followers terrorists and claiming that “the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation” was “a threat to all governments and humanity in the countries [in which] they operate, not just for Turkey”.

These claims have been disputed by independent observers, with Graham Fuller, a former vice chairman of the Central Intelligence Agency’s National Intelligence Council, writing: “It is unlikely Gulen was the mastermind behind the dramatic coup … Erdogan’s sensational and sweeping charges against Gulen seem to fly in the face of most logic … Erdogan had already largely crushed Hizmet before the coup”.

This had been in response to the publication by Gulen followers of police wire taps detailing corruption at the highest levels of Erdogan’s government in 2013.

Greg Barton, a counter terrorism expert at Deakin University in Victoria and an Australian expert on Gulen and Hizmet, told the ABC both were being used as scapegoats by President Erdogan to tighten his grip on power.

“This [the crackdown on Hizmet] is really a smokescreen for a much bigger operation,” Mr Barton said. “He’s [Erdogan] made no secret of his desire for executive presidential power. He didn’t have that yesterday; he has that today with emergency rule”.

Fettullah Erdogan said he couldn’t be sure Turkish government action against people who knew him in Turkey was the result of that association but he couldn’t rule it out either.

“Someone may have no direct association with Hizmet; it doesn’t matter. All it takes is a single accusation. The security forces are seizing copies of books by Gulen from homes and displaying them as `evidence’ of terrorism as if they were guns or bombs,” he said.

Australian-born Muhammed Aksu, a former school teacher from Wollongong who now works at Bluestar in Canberra, said the claim Hizmet was a terrorist organisation was ridiculous.

“We operate in 140 countries around the world, we are centred on education, we are never involved in illegal activity and everything we try to do is a positive,” he said.

“What is happening in Turkey right now is like what happened in the McCarthy era in America or in Hitler’s Germany.”

Source: The Sunday Morning , September 4, 2016


Related News

Police, inspectors raid Gülen-inspired schools in Manisa for 3rd time

Police officers and inspectors from 15 government agencies have raided Gülen-inspired private schools in the western province of Manisa for the third time, as part of a government-orchestrated operation targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement.

Fethullah Gülen: ‘I Call For An International Investigation Into The Failed Putsch In Turkey’

I openly call on the Turkish government to allow for an international commission to investigate the coup attempt, and promise my full cooperation in this matter. If the commission finds one-tenth of the accusations against me to be justified, I am ready to return to Turkey and receive the harshest punishment.

Monitoring group documents 53 suspicious deaths since coup attempt

The Sweden-based monitoring group documented in a recent report 53 cases of what it described suspicious deaths both in and outside of Turkish prisons after the coup attempt.

Should We Send A Man We Know Is Innocent To His Death Abroad?

Wow…realpolitik will take precedence. It’s okay to send Gulen to his death. What do we care about the execution of a Muslim cleric who paid for full-page ads in the New York Times to condemn 9/11 attacks, the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and ISIS, forged ties between Jews, Christians and Muslims, who came to America because of our freedoms, and will honor our request, putting his fate in God’s hands, and our own. And why do we care that he goes to his death at the hands of a man who had good things to say about Hitler’s system of government.

Gülen says planned assassinations of prominent figures in Turkey could be blamed on him

In a video shared Sunday night on the Herkul.org website, where his speeches are aired, Gülen said after a graft probe in 2013 and the July 15 coup attempt, government circles are now planning to pin the blame on him and his movement, also known as Hizmet, for the planned assassination of several famous figures in Turkey.

Inability to generate values

Many are quick to note that Turkey does not have a worldwide brand. It is true that this country, with a population of about 70 million, has virtually no world-class brand. Some people are trying to destroy the few brands it does have (such as Turkish schools — which are run by Turkish entrepreneurs inspired by the ideas of well-respected Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen).

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Tanzanian students place first in Turkish Olympiad folk dance final

Conspiracy theory par excellence [against Gülen movement]

Erdogan’s endless legitimacy crisis

Obama to become a parallel, too?

Escape from Turkey’s parallel reality

‘Hizmet is really something that demonstrates what’s universal about Islam.’

Gülen interview received high praise from intellectuals, NGOs, politicians

Copyright 2024 Hizmet News